- Wonderful Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides – this is only the second copy to ever hit the site, and it’s a good one!
- Fairly quiet on the fourth side – Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus – the other three sides plays Mint Minus Minus
- “Beach Boys in Concert was the final live album to be issued — excluding archival vault releases — capturing the seminal American combo as a viable, hard-working rock & roll band with timeless material instead of the parody that Mike Love so perfectly embodied during their final years. This is the way the Beach Boys deserve to be remembered.” – 4 Stars
We’ve raved about a number of live albums over the years. Some of the better sounding ones that come readily to mind (in alphabetical order) are Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, David Live, Johnny Cash At San Quentin, Donny Hathaway Live, The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, Performance – Rockin The Fillmore, Live Wire – Blues Power, Waiting For Columbus, Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out and Live at Leeds. I would be proud to have any of them in my collection.
The Beach Boys In Concert will never join that rarefied list, but the better copies are clearly giving us a picture of the band pleasing their fans in the early ’70s, right here in the good old U.S. of A.
Note that we have never heard good sounding copies of either of the two previous Beach Boys concert albums, so for a live recording of The Beach Boys this is pretty much going to be it.
What the best sides of The Beach Boys In Concert have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1973
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What are sonic qualities by which a Pop or Rock record — any Pop or Rock record — should be judged?
Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.
When we hear a fair number of the qualities mentioned above on the side we’re playing, we will provisionally award that side a Hot Stamper grade, which is often revised over the course of the shootout as we hear what the other copies are doing. Once we’ve been through all of our side ones, we then play the best of the best of them against each other to arrive at an official Shootout Winner.
Other copies have their grades raised or lowered depending on how they sound relative to the shootout winner, the record that was doing it all (or as much as possible – even some Triple Plus copies have been known to have a minor shortcoming or two). Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each copy match up.
That’s why the most common grade for a White Hot stamper pressing is Triple Plus (A+++) on one side and Double Plus (A++) on the other. Finding the two best sounding sides on the same LP does happen, but it sure doesn’t happen as often as we would like (!) — there are just too many variables in the mastering and pressing processes to ensure consistent quality.
It may not be rocket science, but it’s a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to ensure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.
The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on this Hot Stamper pressing — or your money back.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
Sail On Sailor
Sloop John B
You Still Believe In Me
Leaving This Town
Heroes And Villains
Let The Wind Blow
Help Me, Rhonda
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
We Got Love
Don’t Worry Baby
Fun, Fun, Fun
Although somewhat unimaginatively titled, 1973’s Beach Boys in Concert is significantly more than a hastily compiled live collection of hits. To the contrary, the set includes highlights from the band’s earliest sides (“Surfer Girl”) through to the groundbreaking Smile era (“Good Vibrations” and “Heroes and Villains”) as well as more concurrent material (“Sail On Sailor” and “Marcella”).
These are complemented by a generous representation of deeper cuts including “You Still Believe in Me” from Pet Sounds, “Let the Wind Blow” from Wild Honey (1968), as well as later tracks like “Leaving This Town” and “Funky Pretty.” The song “We Got Love” was originally recorded and penciled in for inclusion on Holland, but the laid-back rocker didn’t make that release and instead makes its debut here.
Beach Boys in Concert was the final live album to be issued — excluding archival vault releases — capturing the seminal American combo as a viable, hard-working rock & roll band with timeless material instead of the parody that Mike Love so perfectly embodied during their final years. This is the way the Beach Boys deserve to be remembered.